SHORT STORIES AND NOVELS

17 May 2016

Night above the City



The last violet reflections of the day were fading away in the distance above the boulevard. Little by little the neon lights started illuminating the night. The people were in a hurry to go home or were about to go out yet, to give themselves to entertainments, were filling the pavements carrying sacks of products, backpacks, flowers, diplomatic briefcases, big and small bags or they were just holding their hands into their pockets; they were bypassing tightly, rushing together between the thick lines of cars, like little armies, moving towards the opposite pavement, stopped or delayed by the counter hordes rushed to the opposite direction, driven by the cold, pouring into the wide subway, heralded by their clamor.
                    
An elegant blondish man above his midlife was sitting at a glass of Metaxa by the showcase of a miniature but cozy bar in the subway just by the stairs. He was observing the passer-by and the shop-windows arranged side-by-side at the opposite wall abstractedly. He liked it to drop in there at dusk where he as if felt the city in his own way. He liked the small dim bar where some visitor rarely sat for a long. He calmly put his hand in the pocket of his black overcoat of Palmerstone and took out a little orange cigar box Cohiba Esplendidos, a flame flashed from his fist and bluish airy fibers of smoke from his aroma cigarillo curved smoothly in the bundle of dim light from the small lamp above him. Immersed in the quiet jazz of Elington and Coltrane, he kept looking out where people passed each other into two directions: a busy man in a black leather coat, swaying rhythmically a briefcase for documents; another one who was looking for something into his pockets while walking; two elderly women who toddling slowly, were leaning either on their walking sticks or on each other; a group of shabby youths who were whooping and giggling in a loud voice; a rapt at a first sight guy with a colorful poncho and braided beard. The man was looking through the showcase and as usual he got surprised by the variety among the people, by the gaudiness of the world, when he noticed a young girl in a long light blue jacket, colorful earflaps and gloves who was handing leaflets at the opposite wall, a bit to the left between the window-shops of two stores. Although she was looking warmly dressed, she was tapping of cold with her feet and kept handing the leaflets to the passerby who hardly noticed her with a smile. Some of the people put the leaflets in their pockets, others had taken a look before dropping them into the rubbish bins by the banisters, and others smashed and threw them from a distance. There were such who folded them carefully but also such who pulled them out with irritation but as if nobody noticed either the girl, or her smile. And she had an incredible smile!

The man was observing the mood she was doing her job with curiosity. She was no more than twenty years old. Perhaps, she was a student and she needed the little money she was about to earn very much when she was staying at the cold but nevertheless this she looked happy. The man could only guess what made her eyes shining, what made her smile at the passing people, at an elegant woman, who had thrown a silvery grey scarf with some colored tassels above her black coat, at the pushing close-cropped young man in a white shirt and stripped necktie that was waving under his unbuttoned overcoat, at the couple in love who kept kissing while walking, at the old woman who was dragging her shopping bag limping, at the serious guy in a short leather jacket and cowboy boots. Her smile was giving a pleasure to him, her mood was contagious to him even through the window but he could guess how frozen she was.

He looked at his watch – it was time to go. He asked the waitress for the bill when a thought came to him. His deep voice silently told her something. The woman looked out, raised her eyebrows, smiled and nodded. He took his cigarillos back, buttoned his coat and let the waitress pass. She went out with a cup of hot aromatic tea nimbly. The first wonderment of the girl turned into a pleasant surprise when the waitress nodded at the man and then she smiled brilliantly. He did not know her and he did not want to know who she was – just a happy young girl. The adult man hardly bowed, jammed his soft hat on and went up the stairs. Somewhere behind him Elington’s piano and Coltrane’s saxophone were dancing intertwined further and further fading away into the clamor of the city.

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